Surprising Retailing Companies Beating Walmart

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How Apple Beats Walmart and Widens the Gap in 2015 - #1 in Brand Value

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Apple Proves Biggest Is Not Always Best In Global Retailing. © Barbara Farfan for About.com

Why Apple, Samsung, Google Threaten Walmart’s Global Retail Power

Walmart continues to top the list of world’s largest retailers, but there are some surprising companies that are beating Walmart in a significant way.   Apple, Samsung, and Google are just three of the retailing companies with corporate brands that are more valuable and more powerful than Walmart in 2015, according to the annual ranking report created by brand consultancy Brand Finance.  Apple, Samsung, and Google are also three brands that may pose a significant retail threat to Walmart’s global retail power in the near future.

The significance of brand value, and why Walmart should be concerned that it is not at the top of the annual Global 500 Brand Value list, lies in the assessment of consumer opinion that this annual global brand analysis makes.  Customer “goodwill” is at the core of brand value for all companies in general, but for retailing companies in particular because goodwill is a main driver of the consumer spending decision.  As other retailing companies successfully build customer goodwill which is stronger than Walmart’s, that consumer loyalty translates into higher sales, which not only strengthens brand value, but also company valuation overall.

Goodwill is a product of a company’s trustworthiness, reputation, and the brand loyalty that is strengthened or diminished one customer transaction at a time.   With highly publicized employee class action lawsuits, international political scandals, and consumer protests, Walmart is not a company that manages consumer goodwill very effectively.  That lack of consumer goodwill matters when consumers choose to spend their disposable income with some other retailing company because they have more confidence in that retailer, or just because they like them better.  

So, what are the retailing companies that are beating Walmart in consumer goodwill and global brand value? 

The Apple Brand is the #1 Most Valuable Retailing Brand in the World in 2015. Since Apple is also the company which holds the record for the highest valuation of any publicly traded retailing company in history, this is not a surprise. But financial success alone does not create brand value, as the highest revenue retail chain - Walmart - is finding out. The Apple brand value continues to be higher than the Walmart brand, and the Apple brand is widening the gap because...

The Apple brand means something.  To consumers, the Apple brand means innovation and quality. To investors, the Apple brand means growth and safety. To retailers, the Apple brand means engagement and productivity.  After 39 years, in many sectors of life, the Apple brand still has its “cool."

A brand is nothing if it has no definable brand identity.  And in that way, the Apple brand is the opposite of nothing, which makes it the most valuable brand in the world, according to the annual rankings from brand consultancy Brand Finance.  

This is not to say that the Walmart brand, which also has global presence and recognition, lacks sufficient brand identity.  It’s just that while the Apple brand has built an overwhelmingly positive brand reputation, the Walmart brand gets mixed reviews, particularly from employees who are actively protesting against Walmart’s human resources policies and practices, and consumers who have ​​a growing disdain for Walmart’s ethics and business policies.  

Good, bad, right or wrong, the seemingly endless controversy associated with the Walmart brand detracts from its brand value and allows brands like Apple to overtake it in terms of brand value on the global retailing stage.

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Samsung #2 Brand Value Beats Walmart, Brand Strength Expands to Retail

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Samsung Leverages Brand Success Into Explosive Retail Growth. © Barbara Farfan for About.com

It’s too early to tell whether the Samsung brand or Best Buy brand will benefit the most from the creation of Samsung store-in-stores inside of 1,400 Best Buy locations throughout the U.S. Logically, though, the retail partnership between Samsung and Best Buy will not boost either the Walmart brand nor Walmart sales over the next three years.

Leverage. That’s what being the #2 Most Valuable Brand in the World (according to brand consultancy Brand Finance), has given Samsung, as it creates explosive growth for itself in the U.S. retail industry. In the same year that at least 1784 Radio Shack store closings will occur, there will be more than 1,400 new Samsung store-in-stores opening, expanding, and operating inside the brick-and-mortar walls of the Best Buy chain.  

Since the Best Buy retail chain has been struggling to maintain its retail relevance, it seems like a partnership with the second most valuable brand in the world has the potential to benefit the Best Buy brand value as much as it will boost Samsung’s exposure to U.S. consumers.   It seems only logical that the Samsung-Best Buy partnership will create formidable competition for Walmart, which is already struggling to compete against another brand value powerhouse,  Amazon.com.

In the 2015 Smartphone rankings from Consumer Reports, seven of the top 10 phones rated for quality and ease of use were Samsung models.  This illustrates that Samsung’s brand strength has been built on a foundation of consumer trust, which Samsung should be able to easily leverage into success as its own retailer. 

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Google’s Global Brand Domination Beats Walmart, Poses Retail Threat

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Reprinted with permission from Google.com

Not only is Google not viewed as a retail competitor to Walmart, it’s not considered to be a retailing competitor to any of the largest retail chains in the world in 2015. But the reason that Walmart and all other global retailers should view Google as a competitive threat is...

Brand recognition. Google is so familiar that it long ago ceased to be a web page or a search engine.  Now Google is a frequently used verb in everyday conversation around the world.  

The Google brand is like the world’s most dependable friend, always accessible and happy to help at any moment, 24/7. It’s easy to see why Google is the #3 most valuable brand in the world, and a little difficult to understand why the Google brand is not #1, given how much value it adds to people’s lives, one search at a time, millions of times per day.

In terms of retailing, Google barely qualifies to be associated with the retail industry at all, operating just one retail brick-and-mortar store which opened on March 11, 2015, in London. And even though the Google brand is more valuable than the Walmart brand (according to brand consultancy Brand Finance), it's safe to say that neither Walmart nor any of the largest U.S. retail chains view Google as any kind of retail threat.  

They should.

Google already has the kind of brand recognition, brand reputation, and brand relationship with consumers around the world that is well beyond the reach of almost all other global retailing brands.  Anything that Google slaps its brand onto will have an immediate advantage over its competitors just because of the power of the Google brand alone.  

For more on the potential impact of a retailing Google, just google “competitive threat."